Monday, December 28, 2009

My toolkit.

Pretty much for my entire creative life, I have felt like I wasn't a "true" artist because of how many crafts/hobbies I have/create with. There really does seem to be that general feeling in the art community, doesn't there? That if you have several mediums, then you're not really an artist, because to do something well, you really should do only one thing.

Maybe that's not the way people actually see it, but it certainly feels that way. I was talking with a great lady at my Polymer Clay Guild (Marlene!) about this very thing a few months ago. I do a million things. So does she. She's amazingly brilliant at basically everything she does. She'd probably say the same about me (because she's really nice!), but I can't say it because it makes me look snooty even if it's true. Not that I'm saying it. But I'm not saying I suck, either. I know I'm generally good. Creation is what I was made to do. I don't think you have to be down on yourself in order to be a good artist, but that's a topic for another post!

I mentioned that I like knowing a lot of different things because I get ideas for finished projects completely separate from any specific medium. Only once the idea pops into my head do I figure out how to make it, and I just make it with what makes sense. The impression I got from her was that this is basically her process, too. (Sorry, Marlene, if it's not!) For instance, my latest idea is creating reusable produce bags for the grocery store. You can reuse plastic grocery bags themselves, so I haven't really been too interested in making those, but the produce bags don't strike me as reusable (it's been years since I tied a bag with one of those wire ties because I wanted to save those, too, since they just get thrown away). I saw ideas for sewn ones, but I'm not very skilled at sewing with sheer fabrics (since they have to be see-through), so I've decided to try and create a netted crochet produce bag pattern. Why? Because crochet netting strikes me as much stronger (and easier to make) than knitted netting. I'll add a little drawstring and viola! Reusable produce bags! I'm making them with old acrylic yarn I don't like, too. Acrylic yarn is fully washable and doesn't stretch. So crochet is the craft of choice and acrylic yarn is the medium of choice. "True" crochet artists may sneer at me, but, hey. It's the right tool for the job, so I use it.

This is what I'm talking about. I also want to cover another one of my paperback bibles, but I don't feel like sewing a cover, so I'm making a permanent paper one, so I'm using scrapbooking stuff. I'm also wanting to make myself some lovely post earrings with some leftover fine silver sheet I have. These kinds of things are the real reason I learned to solder, because that's what I'd need to know how to do in order to create the idea in my head.

All of this is basically my way of saying that yes, as a craft polygamist, I do a LOT of things. But I no longer feel guilty about it because I've realized that I still am a real artist. I just don't begin with the medium. I begin with the idea and the medium becomes the tool by which I create the idea. So it's not an excess of hobbies--it's my toolkit! Also, this helps banish the notion that I sit around doing absolutely nothing but several different crafts all of the time. The truth is, I bounce around constantly because I never know what's going to get used to make my next idea.

So, there you have it. If you're a craft polygamist, join the ranks. And stop feeling guilty about it! Celebrate your own rich, multi-medium art!


  1. Spoken like a true artist! You are also talented in marketing and selling your work. Plus, you're a great teacher! But what I really like is your ability to share your feelings (negative and positive) and thoughts (as above). I like your new blog name and look forward to more. - Marlene

  2. I'm an artist, and I also use more than one medium to create. I'm a poet, a journaller, a crocheter, a knitter, an occasional sewer (I can get the job done...), a once-in-awhile scrapbooker, a former cross-stitcher (and only do it when I get a wild hair or need to...). We like to create because we were created by a Creator. And last time I checked, God didn't use just one medium either to create this thing we call Earth. ;)

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